The Basque newspaper Deia has taken an exceedingly dim view of José Manuel Barroso’s spectacularly unsuccessful attempt at not interfering in subjects beyond his remit on the Andrew Marr show the other day.
In an editorial published on Tuesday, the newspaper makes some points about the European Union which don’t often get aired in the UK media – because they don’t accord with the favoured position of Westminster and the Guardiatelegramail. That position being Scotland bent over with its legs apart and ready to be shafted.
So it’s worth repeating Deia’s points for a Scottish readership. The points the paper makes are far more fundamental to the entire structure and purpose of the EU than arguments about whether Scotland can join via article 48 or article 49. Deia argues that Scotland must be admitted as a full member, without being excluded, as this is the only option which is in accordance with the most basic principles of the EU, as expressed in the EU Treaties Carmichael and Darling are so fond of citing selectively.
I’ve translated the editorial, written in Spanish, into English. You can read the original Spanish language version by clicking on the link above. Like a lot of Spanish language newspaper editorials, it’s in a verbose and wordy style of writing, with long sentences that you have to pick your way through carefully. It’s a style of writing that works better in Spanish than in English, because it’s pure dead Latin, but I’ve tried to keep the translation as close to the original as possible.
Scotland, European Evidence
The stance of high officials of the EU with respect to its independence from Great Britain exceeds the limits that the [European] Treaties attribute to the institutions of the Union and pervert several of its fundamental principles.
The repeated public stance of high officials of the European Union with respect to the democratic processes which are developing to determine the bilateral relation of some nations (Scotland and Catalonia) with those member states of the Union in which they are inserted exceed the role which the successive treaties of Rome, Maastricht and Lisbon attribute to European institutions and pervert some of the foundational principles, values, and objectives of the EU, submitting them to state interests.
So one can consider what happens, for example, to fundamentals such as subsidiarity, the respect for national identities or that of representative democracy, contained within the Treaty of the European Union signed in Maastricht in February 1992.
With respect to the first, article 5 Chapter 1 (Communal Dispositions) of the Treaty of European Union, blocks any community intervention in ambits which are not within its exclusive competence, such as would be the case of decisions agreed between Edinburgh and London on the Scottish referendum.
Regarding national identity, the European Court of Justice has already defined it as “the combination of powers necessary so that the member state may configure, with complete freedom, the conditions of the economic and social life of its citizens”, from which cannot logically be excluded a negotiated split between the parts [of the member state] which has democratic support.
Thus, the EU, its institutions and representatives, may only consider a similar process with the utmost respect for the principle of representative democracy stipulated in the Treaty and in the second paragraph of its first article: “This Treaty marks a new stage in the process of creating an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe, in which decisions are taken as closely as possible to the citizen.”
Finally, consider, how the president of the European Commission, José Manuel Durao Barroso has made membership of the EU out to be “very difficult if not impossible” if the Scots opt for a yes to independence this 18th of September, barges into a debate from which he ought to refrain, and also ignores the evidence that Scotland comes historically in possession of representation in the European Parliament, which by virtue of the Treaty of Lisbon is the sovereign body of the Union.
Insisting that Scotland must leave the EU breaches the principles upon which the EU was founded, and would deprive Scotland of democratic representation in the sovereign body of the EU, the EU Parliament. Since the EU Parliament is the sovereign body according to the Treaty, the EU Parliament would have to vote to exclude its Scottish representatives, the European Commission doesn’t have the power to order their exclusion. But calling such a vote would fall foul of the EU prohibition on interference in the internal democratic and constitutional affairs of an EU member state.
A vote on excluding Scottish MEPs would be illegal. In fact any vote on excluding Scotland from any EU provision, obligation, or benefit would be illegal, because we will have achieved our independence democratically, constitutionally, and fully in accordance with the fundamental principles the EU Treaty commits EU bodies to uphold.
This is an important point. It is for the people of Scotland to decide our own constitutional living arrangements, the UK constitution permits this. So it is not a matter for the EU, it is an internal matter which the EU is pledged to support and protect. If, following a democratic and constitutional process, some citizens of the UK become citizens of an independent Scotland, while others either remain citizens of a continuing UK or become citizens of a new state comprising England, Wales and Northern Ireland (it makes no difference which) – the foundation treaties of the EU oblige it to accept the new situation.
So how exactly does Better Together square its insistence that Scotland would be forced out of the EU with the commitment of the EU to create an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe, in which decisions are taken as closely as possible to the citizen? There doesn’t seem to be any extra clause in the treaty adding the rider “except if they’re Scottish, Catalan, Basque, Galician, Welsh or Corsican and they vote for independence”. And in the absence of that wee qualification, the only course left for the EU is to accept the fact that where there was once one EU member state, there would now be two – the UK/rUK or whatever it chooses to call itself, and Scotland.
So not only was Barroso interfering in the democratic right of the people of Scotland, he was also undermining one of the most basic and fundamental principles of the very organisation he’s supposed to represent.
None of these are points that Andrew Marr, nor indeed anyone else on our national broadcaster or the rest of the UK media, have considered worthy of raising. Funny that.